The Bethesda Row pit stop for Bike to Work Day on Friday will include a DJ, raffle prizes, free bike maintenance, food and drinks and giveaways all in the name of encouraging more people to commute to work via bike.
Judging by a batch of numbers released on Monday by the U.S. Census, officials pushing for more bike commuting have a long way to go.
According to the 2008-2012 American Community Survey, just 0.6 percent of Montgomery County’s 525,105 workers biked to work. That’s roughly 3,000 bike commuters countywide.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) counts roughly 12,000 county residents as comfortable with biking or involved in biking issues. That’s a number WABA Executive Director Shane Farthing said needs to grow to about 600,000 (or 60 percent of the county’s population) before the county can truly be considered a great biking area.
Farthing and others spoke about the need to enhance the primarily suburban county’s biking culture at a forum organized by Councilmember Hans Riemer in April.
A little more than 75 percent of Montgomery County workers drive to work in a car, truck or van, according to the American Community Survey. Nearly 65 percent said they drove alone to work.
County Executive Isiah Leggett is scheduled to appear at the Bethesda Bike to Work Day pit stop, one of many that will be set up for across the Washington region on Friday morning.
The event, organized by Bethesda Transportation Solutions, will run from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Woodmont and Bethesda Avenues, near the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel.
The Capital Crescent Trail is a major bike commuter route to and from D.C., making the annual Bethesda pit stop a major draw with thousands of attendees.
The first 14,000 who register will be guaranteed a free Bike to Work Day t-shirt and one company will win a new bike rack to be installed outside of its office. Two bike commuters will win a Bicycle Spirit Award.
For more information, visit the event page. There will also be Bike to Work Day pit stops in North Bethesda (at the Nuclear Regulatory Agency), in front of Naval Support Activity Bethesda, in front of NIH and in Friendship Heights.